Looking for Creativity? Try a Fence!

Everyone knows how important creativity is to an artist. Whether you are a painter, writer, musician or sculptor, creativity is the life-blood that keeps you inspired and keeps you in business. The same can be said for us non-artist business folks- novel products and services, eye-catching marketing and powerful pitches are also borne of creativity. There is no doubt these things matter to any business.

"Tejofence1-loem"I have always thought of creativity as being unbounded- no fences, no conformity, no limits. In other words creativity comes when it is good and ready- you just have to hope you're ready to capture it when it shows up. It's time to shake my foundation.

A friend sent me this video of Jack White, formerly of the band The White Stripes. I was quite impressed by what he had to say about creativity and how boundaries can enhance it; in fact his philosophy is the complete opposite of mine. Jack believes that too much freedom actually diminishes creativity. As he suggests, book 4-5 days in the studio and produce that record, just make it happen! Falling back on the idea that you have all the time, all the money, all the concepts, in his opinion, kills creativity. The key to his creativity lies in placing restrictions on himself.


Not all us are creative in the first place but for those who are I now see that we are divided into three camps. On the one-hand there are those who react to creativity when it appears. It may come often or rarely, but when it does these folks know how to to make the best of it. Boundaries do not apply and their creativity does not suffer. On the other hand we have folks like Jack White who accumulate all that creativity, set a priority and schedule and get it done. It's as if mental clarity is heightened when the limits are self-imposed.

Oh yeah and that leaves that other group of folks- the group I belong to. I'm a creative sort but I am not fond of boundaries. Creative ideas flit in and out of my mind like sand particles in a wind storm but I do my best work as the clock winds down. Say, come to think of it I guess I'm a lot like Jack White- I just wish I could be setting the deadlines. Where do you fit in?

4 responses on “Looking for Creativity? Try a Fence!

  1. When I was in college I heard Nureyev, the Russian dancer speak and he commented about the rigors of ballet, that "Within the structure, comes the freedom." I personally understood that to mean that before you can be "great" at anything, you have to learn where the boundaries and limits are for yourself and for the art form before you can begin to push the envelope.

  2. Ed Drozda says:

    Interesting perspective- I think this one is a lot like the proverbial onion. So many layers to be peeled back and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for sharing Catherine.

  3. Mary McDonald says:

    Creativity comes to me when I am focused. Setting boundaries is a good way to force yourself to get focused. I'm with Jack, all the way. I just wish I had his self-discipline. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Ed Drozda says:

    I am with you Mary- it's very easy for me to help others develop the discipline but then there is me…

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